Is Cloud Computing Set To Change Business Intelligence?

In recent years, Business Intelligence (BI) has become synonymous to business growth and success. A lot of companies, big and small, have adopted traditional Business Intelligence (BI) technologies, services and products. With the advent of Cloud computing technologies recently, Business Intelligence as we know it might be slowly changing.

BI simply means interpreting data to make informed and wise decisions. Organisations usually find themselves drowning in data especially with long history of trading. With the use of BI technologies, services and products, companies can easily identify sales trends or hidden trends in the data (which is referred to as data mining), identify regions where most sales are coming from, identifying most popular products or declining products, and many more. Therefore BI solutions and products enable companies to analyse and report their data for better business decisions and improve business performance.

In recent years we have seen massive growth in the BI sector as many companies consider BI to be fundamental for their growth and stability. This has resulted in a lot of activity in the market like acquisitions, such as the acquisition of Business Objects, a big BI company with more than 46 000 customers worldwide, by SAP AG, another key player in the BI sector. At that time Business Objects was valued at about 7 billion dollars. Other key players in Business Intelligence include Microsoft, Cognos and Oracle.

This growth in the sector is coming at a time when technology is constantly changing, so for BI to remain a hot topic and keep up with the investment it also has to evolve with the technology. Cloud computing is set to revolutionise the way business is done. Cloud computing basically describes a new supplement, consumption and delivery model for IT services based on the Internet, and it generally involves over the-Internet-provision of dynamically scalable and often virtualised resources. It is a result of the ease-of-access to remote computing sites provided by the Internet. Companies no longer have to physically own the resources on their premises but can access them on-demand from the “cloud”.

Major Service providers currently using this technology include Salesforce, Amazon and Google but there are many other companies moving in this direction. Oracle, which is a big player in BI through its Oracle Business Intelligence, makes available most of its products through the web browser and this is a big step towards adopting Cloud computing techniques.

Many IT and BI companies are set to join this trend as they realized the advantages. Recent reports say Microsoft, which for a long time hasn’t been able to match their internet rival Google, is considering offering some of its products like Office through the cloud, trying to compete with Google’s Google Docs. Current players in the field like SalesForce and Google are expanding their product and service base to include BI components, e.g. Google’s Google Analytics which enables their customers to analyze website traffic. Salesforce CRM now includes BI tools like OBIEE facility and reporting components.

I believe the evolution of Business Intelligence has already started and will continue with small and big BI companies like Microsoft moving in the direction of Google. A BI solution essentially involves data storage and, in its traditional form, the implementation of data storage infrastructure can be quite expensive. I think this one of the reasons why complete BI solutions, products and services will soon be available in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about Business Intelligence, then visit Samuel Makunike’s site on how to choose the best Cloud Computing Platform for your needs.

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